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Why runners are more funner

Carolyn Green | Monday, February 6, 2012

As anyone who has seen the “Race for Rabies” episode of “The Office” can attest, runners are a funny bunch. Through SSLP, I spent my last summer living in Utah, an active community of ski bums, mountain bikers, white-water rafters and yes, runners. At one point during the summer, I recall seeing an entire family — mother, father, son and daughter — all in running clothes and all in matching FiveFinger shoes. Granted, I was in a Wal-Mart at the time, but still — in no other sport do people willingly wear shoes that make them appear to have gorilla feet.

Whether a competitive racer or a recreational jogger, you are guaranteed to find something that interests you in the world of running. For example, the “Runyon 5K” in New York, N.Y., features a course entirely inside Yankee Stadium, winding up and down aisles, ramps and stairs and circling around the baseball diamond. The “Man vs. Horse Marathon” in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales (yeah, I don’t know how to pronounce that, either) pits man against beast in a 22-mile race over rough terrain. In 27 years, man has beaten horse only two times, but over 500 runners still attempt the contest every year.

Two North Carolina undergrads dreamed up a dare that became the annual “Krispy Kreme Challenge,” where runners have one hour to run two miles, consume a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, then run the two miles back to the start. The “Freeze Yer Gizzard” run takes place in one of the coldest cities in America — surprisingly, not South Bend, but International Falls, Minn. Held in mid-January, the race typically falls on one of the coldest days of the year with temperatures dipping into the low negative 50s. Hundreds of people run the “Impossible 5K” each year in Woodstock, Cal. … or do they? The race begins at 1:50 a.m., ensuring that participants are running at the exact moment Daylight Savings Time begins. A runner can complete the course in 25 minutes, finishing at 1:15 AM, making this the only race in the world where runners can have negative finishing times.

Though the Holy Half Marathon doesn’t feature Speedo-clad Santas, humans pursuing costumed zombies or leaps over live electrical wires (all real races), it is still plenty of fun. Holy Half Marathons in the years past have featured race bags filled with gummy bears, mile-markers decorated with Holy Cows, runners dressed as Clifford the Big Red Dog and even a marriage proposal. There are plenty of new features adding to the spirit of this year’s race, as well.

We are hoping to have all dorms sponsor either an aid or entertainment station, so get together with your roommates, hall council and dorm commissioners to decide if you will be passing out Gatorade or performing to Gaga. The most supportive dorm will win the coveted Holy Half Spirit Award, a noteworthy title for all dorms vying for Hall of the Year.

The Holy Half 2012 also introduces the “Holy Half Heroes” program. Runners ask for sponsorships from family and friends to run the race, and enter these donations online. All runners who raise $50 will receive a limited edition “Holy Half Heroes” t-shirt, and every $10 above $50 gives a runner another chance to enter a drawing for fabulous prizes from elite athletes and famed Notre Dame football coaches. See the “Holy Half Heroes” section under the donation page of the holyhalf.nd.edu website, and keep an eye on the Holy Half Facebook and Twitter for more details.

Training for the Holy Half can be fun, too. Most runners are looking for a buddy, so ask around to find a training partner for those lovely long runs. The half marathon training plan on the Holy Half website includes ways to shake up your routine, such as fast-finishers or cruise-intervals. A fartlek run, meaning “speed play” in Swedish (although, when I ran fartleks during high school cross country, my dad would say the name sounded more like something the dog would do) encourage you to change up your pace and run fast for as long (or short) as you like.

Finally, I present a list of the top 10 songs to listen to while running, as suggested by fans of the Holy Half Facebook page:

1. “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida

2. “International Love” by Pitbull

3. “And We Danced” by Macklemore

4. “Levels” by Avicii

5. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

6. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”

by The Darkness

7. “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty

8. “Who’s that Chick?” by Rihanna

and David Guetta

9. “We’ll Be Alright” by Travie McCoy

10. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson

There’s just something about gratuitously bad hip-hop and classic rock that makes you run faster. Happy running!


Carolyn Green is the student director of the Holy Half Marathon. She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.